Latest articles


Please do not shoot those coyotes

One man’s poison is another man’s meal. Or at least a meal for that pesky coyote

Prairie people frequently get together to shoot coyotes, often with the support of local farmers. I’m not against disposing of problem wildlife, but I fail to see any benefits from shooting coyotes. Coyotes are a major reason why we are not overrun by rabbits, jackrabbits, voles, mice, pocket gophers, rats and ground squirrels. If we […] Read more


Bleached tops means bye-bye Canada thistle

Take a look in the ditches near you. A fungus may be infecting those weeds

Canada thistle is an invasive import from Europe. It is technically called Circium arvense, a prickly member of the Aster family. In the U.K., it’s called creeping thistle; in New Zealand it’s called Californian thistle, perhaps derived from Canada thistle. Canada thistle is also known in North America by a range of other names but […] Read more



Identifying copper deficiency in wheat

Ieuan Evans looks at 2019 growing conditions, including areas where copper levels are low

In early August in central Alberta I was still seeing yellow fields of canola. Honeybees and mosquitoes were having an extended nectar flowing season. I will stick my neck out as usual and make a few observations and prophecies across the Western Prairies. Crops are late in the northern part of the Western Prairies, but […] Read more


D’oh, a deer! How to protect your garden and shrubs from deer and moose

Nice to look at, but also destructive. How to keep cervids away from your property

Moose, elk and deer are members of the family Cervidae (cervids) which includes some 41 species worldwide. In Canada, we have to contend with white-tailed deer (the number one pest), moose (called elk in Europe), mule or black-tailed deer and elk (called red deer in Europe). These animals can be very destructive around farms, acreages and orchards. Here is a list of […] Read more



Why soybeans need inoculant and how some crops fix nitrogen without it

Plus, never do this with inoculant

Next to water, nitrogen is usually the most limiting nutrient in crop production. In prairie agriculture, by far the major source of fixed nitrogen for crop production is nitrogen produced industrially via the Haber process. But nitrogen fixation by legumes is also a very important economic factor in world agriculture. The nitrogen-fixing family of plants, […] Read more


The basic facts around limestone

The limestone market is worth a billion dollars annually, but invaluable for yield increases

Limestone, or calcium carbonate, CaCO3, makes up about 10 per cent of the sedimentary rocks on earth. Sometimes limestone contains appreciable amounts of magnesium. It’s then called dolomitic limestone, CaMg (CO3)2. Under pressure, limestone rock becomes metamorphosed into marble. Limestone rock is quarried in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Ontario and […] Read more



What’s in the ground under your crop?

What is half air by volume, 50 per cent oxygen by weight, and has the capacity to grow a crop?

Is it dirt, earth, mud, sand, clay, silt, muck? Yes, it’s all of these, but what really are Prairie soils made of? There are four basic types of Prairie soil: dark brown, black, dark grey and brown. Rainfall on these soils, the prime yield-limiting factor, ranges from around 11 to as much as 20 inches […] Read more


Myths, yarns and ridiculous claims

Many long-standing popular myths about agriculture have been disclaimed by science

After 60 years of work and observations in Canadian, British and U.S. agriculture, most of it on the Canadian prairies, I still cannot believe how many farmers and scientists believe in plain falsehoods. Here are a few of those unsubstantiated myths. Manure causes lodging FALSE: If you apply 10 to 20 or more tons of […] Read more



The view from the GMO crowd

A world of contradictions, impossible arguments and badly translated chants

How many times have I seen slogans that say, “No GMOs?” I even see it in Canadian horticultural seed catalogues. Do we expect the horticultural seed catalogues to sell Roundup Ready canola, soybeans or field corn? It’s just that the gossips and fuddy duddy’s of this world have seen or heard “no GMO’s.” It seems the anti-pesticide and organic food producers have […] Read more


Herbicide drift and self-inflicted crop damage

Herbicides can damage crops in many ways. Learn to prevent loss and deal with damages

Every year across the Canadian Prairies there will be many cases of herbicide damage to non-target crops. Some of this will be due to unsuitable weather conditions such as windy weather, wind gusts or inversions. Other causes are municipal roadside weed control leading to spray drift into cropland, on farm herbicide mix-ups, incorrect herbicides such […] Read more